INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A university in Indianapolis has joined the ranks to help expand the workforce to fight mental health and addiction disorders.
Martin University is modifying its master’s program in community psychology to do the job.
Data shows that 59% of people struggling with addiction struggle with mental health issues. The university will use a $100,000 grant from health insurance provider Anthem to support training efforts and, with a shortage of black mental health experts, launching at a black-founded institution could be a way to diversify the workforce.
Substance use disorders continue to impact Indiana communities, and since the pandemic, mental health advocates say rates continue to rise while support options continue to dwindle . Brian Steuerwald said, “We hope we can make an impact with our students who are doing this work in this area to diversify the workforce by addressing some of the disparities we see in health care between black and brown communities.
For years, the program has focused on providing students with the tools to become licensed mental health counselors in Indiana, but, with rising substance use, they are expanding that work. “Substance use disorders and mental health all fall under the same jurisdiction as psychiatric disorders,” Steuerwald said.
Anthem awarded the grant so the university could revamp its curriculum, teaching assessment and treatment techniques to enable students to become licensed mental health and addictions counselors upon graduation.
Depression and anxiety are common problems for people living with a substance use disorder.
Representatives say that, historically, communities of color have been undeserved in terms of access to support for mental health and substance abuse disorders.
“We know that people from different cultures and backgrounds like to be advised by people who are like them,” Steuerwald said.